Jim Caccamo, director of the Department of Early Learning at the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City, a not-for-profit association of city and county governments, will talk to business leaders at 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau. The event is sponsored by the United Way of Southeast Missouri's Success by 6 program as part of Week of the Young Child, celebrated April 11 through 17.
"Success by 6" is a national United Way initiative to focus attention and act on strategies to help all children have a healthy early development.
"Research is very clear about the need for helping young children take advantage of early growth and development of their brain," Caccamo said. "Business has a critical role to play and really strong vested interest."
According to the Institute for Employment Studies, a not-for-profit research center, businesses that have family-friendly practices also have reduced employee absences, improved retention and increased productivity.
"When children [were] placed in quality programs, worker productivity increased because they're not worried about what happens to their children because they know they are well cared for," Caccamo said.
One Cape Girardeau company making strides in this area is National Asset Recovery Services Inc., which offers on-site child care at its call center.
About 65 children are enrolled in the program, which will be recognized at Friday's seminar.
"When school closes for snow or a holiday, parents can drop their child off and still come to work," said Amanda Hayes, NARS assistant vice president.
In addition to on-site child care, other family-friendly business practices include offering flexible hours, job sharing between employees, special leave for child care emergencies and family access to learning resources.
In addition to seeing the benefits to their current employees, Caccamo said, by taking these measures businesses help ensure a qualified work force in the future.
"There are economic advantage and cost savings for making sure that kids get a strong beginning in life," Caccamo said.
1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO